Kellaway stars as Wallabies rout Los Pumas
REPORT: An Andrew Kellaway hat-trick has him within reach of Wallabies history after a 32-17 defeat of Argentina gave them four-straight Rugby Championship Test wins for the first time.
Samu Kerevi’s ankle injury was the only concern on the Gold Coast on Saturday, the form centre limping off after 50 minutes as Australia toyed with the winless Pumas, who scored two late tries to soften the damage.
*To recap all the drama CLICK HERE!
Wing Kellaway, who was shifted to fullback after fellow try-scorer Kerevi’s departure, was in the thick of it again.
The 25-year-old finished a neat set play off a line-out in the first half then ran on to two more in the second half, while again proving a level head in defence and in open spaces with possession.
Kellaway, a Sydney junior prodigy who returned from an overseas stint with the Melbourne Rebels late last season, now has eight tries in a debut year that’s included six starts and two caps off the bench against France.
With four Tests still to play he’s in the box seat to break Israel Folau’s Wallabies record of 10 tries in a debut year.
Argentina were not the force of last season when they twice drew with Australia, completing a winless Rugby Championship with six players ineligible after a midweek trip across the border locked them out of Queensland.
Australia could smell blood but it wasn’t until Kerevi’s departure that they took full toll.
Into fullback with Reece Hodge shifted to replace Kerevi, Kellaway barged over as the Wallabies ran back a shallow Pumas exit kick.
He then accepted a slick backhand flick from Len Ikitau to ice the cake.
Folau Faingaa scored the game’s first try, finding space behind a line-out to sneak over after Thomas Lavanini was yellow-carded for repeated penalties.
The hooker’s soft hands put Valetini through a gap that led to Kellaway’s first, Australia finally executing after a messy first 30 minutes.
Sean McMahon was quiet in his first Wallabies minutes since 2017 and Greg Holmes earned his first cap since 2016 when both came on as second-half substitutions.
James O’Connor was among them, replacing Quade Cooper for the last 23 minutes.
Cooper had done his best to open the Pumas up with short cross-field kicks to his wingers.
When wing Jordan Petaia limped off with cramps there was still 13 minutes to play, hooker Lachlan Lonergan was thrust into the unfamiliar position as the Test ended as scrappily as it began.
💨 When Julian Montoya gets into space.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 2, 2021
Man of the match: No.8 Rob Valetini was in fine form as he set up Australia’s first try and carried strong. Hat-trick hero Andrew Kellaway deserve a mention. Los Pumas captain Julian Montoya was a standout for his team. While our nod goes to Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White, who dictated the game very well. His feed from the base was great and his kicks were effective.
Tries: Gallo 2
Cons: Boffelli 2
Tries: Fainga’a, Kellaway 3, Kerevi
Yellow cards: Tomas Lavanini (Argentina, 26 – Deliberate foul play), Michael Hooper (Australia, 80 – repeat infringements)
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Rodrigo Martinez.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Francisco Gorrissen, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Mateo Carreras.
Australia: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Andrew Kellaway, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Pete Samu, 5 Darcy Swain, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Jack Gordon, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Tom Wright.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (AUS), Reuben Keane (AUS)
TMO: Brett Cronan (AUS)